Saturday, February 2, 2013

Seeing China plain


China's working-age population is now declining. As labor becomes scarcer, the business community will either take on the challenge of moving to a higher-wage, more capital-intensive economy ... or lobby hard for immigration. (source)


We like to compare ourselves with others, often seeing them as an alter ego who had gone to the right university, found the right job, or married the right person.

The same principle applies to countries. For a long time, many believed that if their country had done whatever the United States had done, they too would be powerful and prosperous. Today, this role of "Big Other" is increasingly being assigned to China.
 
An example is a recent article about "Chinese eugenics":
 
China has been running the world's largest and most successful eugenics program for more than thirty years, driving China's ever-faster rise as the global superpower. I worry that this poses some existential threat to Western civilization. Yet the most likely result is that America and Europe linger around a few hundred more years as also-rans on the world-historical stage, nursing our anti-hereditarian political correctness to the bitter end. (Miller, 2013)
 
The author, evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, sees this eugenics program in the one-child policy, which serves “partly to curtail China’s population explosion, but also to reduce dysgenic fertility among rural peasants,” presumably because the best and the brightest migrate to the cities. Furthermore, to the extent that the best and the brightest are wealthier, they’re also better able to pay the fine for having a second child.
 
But Miller overlooks the weaker enforcement of this policy in rural areas. If the first-born in a farming family is a girl, they’re allowed to have another child. This might be why the fertility rate is higher in China’s rural areas, although it’s questionable whether the one-child policy has much effect at all. The fertility rate is actually higher in China (1.55) than in Taiwan (1.06) or Singapore (1.2), neither of which tries to limit family size.

Miller is on firmer ground when discussing the 1995 “Eugenic Law”:
 
With the 1995 Maternal and Infant Health Law (known as the Eugenic Law until Western opposition forced a name change), China forbade people carrying heritable mental or physical disorders from marrying, and promoted mass prenatal ultrasound testing for birth defects. (Miller, 2013)
 
As he notes further on, the word "eugenic" corresponds here to the Chinese term yousheng, literally "good birth." The idea here, however, is not to create a new superhuman, but rather to maintain the current quality of the gene pool. A better English translation would be "anti-dysgenic."

This idea is not specific to China. It was, in fact, widespread in the Western world until a little over thirty years ago, as seen in a widely used undergrad textbook from the 1970s:
 
Perhaps it is not unreasonable to assume that a person with a good record of achievement in certain areas of human endeavor has on the average a more desirable gene combination than a person whose achievements are less spectacular. In our present society, the superior person is punished by the government in numerous ways, by taxes and otherwise, which make it more difficult for him to raise a large family. Why, for instance, should tax exemption for children be a fixed sum rather than a percentage of earned income? Why should tuition in school be based, in large part, on the ability of the father to pay rather than inversely on the achievement of the student? Innumerable administrative rules and laws of the government discriminate inadvertently against the most gifted members of the community. (Mayr, 1970, pp. 408-409)
 
An analogy can be made here with the current view that East Asian societies are "ultranationalistic"—a view seldom expressed a half-century ago when national sentiment was thought to be normal and even healthy. Since then, they haven't diverged from us. We've diverged from them. Remember, we observe other human societies from a moving frame of reference, and this perspective creates the illusion that some societies are becoming more extreme, more religious, or more xenophobic.
 
In reality, China has no eugenics program. It has a population program that may have anti-dysgenic effects. Moreover, a truly anti-dysgenic program would apply to everyone, yet the one-child policy is applied only in part to peasants and not at all to non-Han Chinese.
 
The best and the brightest?

And then there's immigration. In official discourse, China carefully screens its newcomers, letting in only the best and the brightest (Pieke, 2012). In reality, most immigrants enter the country illegally or on visitor visas to fill low-paying jobs:
 
In the short to medium term, the rise of China as a major immigration country is mostly predicated on the continued growth of its economy and its gradual transition to an urban, service-based economy. The role, and especially the timing, of demographic factors is less clear. In 2003, for the first time China began to experience shortages of internal migrant labor. There are only few people left in rural China younger than 30 years-the cohort most predisposed to out-migration-who still work in agriculture. (Pieke, 2012, p. 41)
 
The looming scarcity of labor could lead to higher wages and greater reliance on automation and robotization. Or it could lead to a growing influx of cheaply paid immigrant labor. To date, China seems to be moving down the second path:
 
In contrast to the influx of skilled foreigners stands the recent arrival of a large number of Southeast Asian workers, mainly Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian, who have been "smuggled" into the Pearl River Delta to take low pay work and this is believed helpful to alleviate the pressure of shortage of labour force in the region. (Zhu & Price, 2012, p. 8)
 
As usual, the term "labor shortage" needs qualifying. There is only a shortage of people who will work for less than the going market rate:
 
"They are hard workers and obedient employees," Zeng Xiangbiao, a shoe factory owner in Dongguan, told a Chinese reporter in a familiar refrain on immigrant labor. He has more than 200 workers from Cambodia and Laos, a quarter of his workforce. "They could work 15 to 16 hours a day and work for a month without any break. Few of the domestic workers, especially those born in the 1980s and after, could take this." (Epstein, 2010)
 
There has also been an influx of sub-Saharan Africans, who number an estimated 200,000 in Guangzhou alone, in addition to a growing presence in Hong Kong, Macao, Yiwu, Shanghai, and Beijing (Bodomo, 2012; Li etal., 2007). Most come to China as immigrants, and not as transients:
 
A distinctive feature of Africans in China, which differentiates them from other foreign nationals, is their expressed intention to settle in China for a long period [...] Most Africans are actually seeking a life in China if the local situation permits them to remain. Moreover, a significant part of African immigrants are relatively poor when they arrive at China. (Zhu & Price, 2012, p. 4)
 
The African influx will probably continue to "happen" through irregular means. Eventually, it will be regularized as a fait accompli. Indeed, some are already arguing that such immigration must be legally recognized in order to manage it better:
 
The failure to manage the African immigration wave is indicated by the absence of a concerted system of national laws and regulations on the legal protection of foreigners' basic rights and interests, and also by the non-recognition of minimal social rights to immigrants in China. (Zhu & Price, 2012, p. 19)
 
Conclusion

For Geoffrey Miller, China acts with a view to the longer term, especially when deciding the future of its population, i.e., the basis of its society and economy. In contrast, the West acts "stupidly and shortsightedly."

The real picture is less flattering to the Chinese and is, in fact, depressingly familiar. As in the West, population policy is dominated by short and medium term needs, even though today's decisions have long-term consequences that will be hard to reverse.

Like its Western counterparts, the Chinese business community feels entitled to cheap labor and will lobby hard to preserve this "right" as the pool of homegrown labor shrinks. Although the average Chinese worker would gain from higher wages and a more capital-intensive economy, such a change would be costly for existing businesses, many of which would lose market share or go bankrupt. A tempting solution will be to keep wages low by letting in people who will work at those wages.

And keeping such people out will be diplomatically difficult. Their home countries are usually the same ones that increasingly supply China with food and valuable raw materials. Fear of economic reprisals will force policy-makers to treat this issue with kid gloves.

Unlike its Western counterparts, however, the Chinese business community is less effective at lobbying the upper echelons of the Chinese state. These two worlds are distinct with little overlap. State officials move up through the ranks of the Communist Party, and there is none of the to and fro of businessmen running for public office and later retiring to the private sector as consultants. Businessmen do try to get their way through bribery, but such behavior is punished more harshly than it is in the West, as seen in the government's reaction to the infant formula scandal of 2008:
 
[...] they quickly launched a national police investigation which led to a series of arrests and uncovered evidence that this widespread system of food adulteration had been protected by bribe-taking government officials. Long prison sentences were freely handed out and a couple of the guiltiest culprits were eventually tried and executed for their role, measures that gradually assuaged popular anger. Indeed, the former head of the Chinese FDA had been executed for corruption in late 2007 under similar circumstances.  (Unz, 2012)

It is thus easier in China to make population policy with a view to long-term national goals. But will this actually be the case? Only time will tell ...
 
References

Bodomo, A. (2012). Africans in China: A Sociological Study and Its Implications on Africa-China Relations, Cambria Press.

Epstein, G. (2010). China's immigration problem, July 19, Forbes.com
http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/0719/opinions-china-immigration-illegal-aliens-heads-up.html
Li, Z, D. Xue, M. Lyons, A. Brown. (2007). Ethnic Enclave of Transnational Migrants in Guangzhou: A Case Study of Xiaobei
http://asiandrivers.open.ac.uk/lyons%20brown%20zhigang%20li%20ethnic%20enclaves%20china%20(2).pdf
Mayr, E. (1970). Populations, Species, and Evolution, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.)

Miller, G. (2013). Chinese eugenics, 2013 : What *should* we be worried about? Edge
http://www.edge.org/response-detail/23838
Pieke, F.N. (2012). Immigrant China, Modern China, 38, 40-77.

Unz, R. (2012). Chinese Melamine and American Vioxx: A Comparison, The American Conservative, April 17
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/chinese-melamine-and-american-vioxx-a-comparison/
Zhu, G., & R. Price (2012). Chinese Immigration Law and Policy: A Case of 'Change Your Direction or End Up Where You are Heading'? Columbia Journal of Asian Law, forthcoming.
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2088683

34 comments:

Jprezy87 said...

oo"He has more than 200 workers from Cambodia and Laos, a quarter of his workforce. "They could work 15 to 16 hours a day and work for a month without any break"

Jesus...Unions much??

Jprezy87 said...

"As usual, the term "labor shortage" needs qualifying. There is only a shortage of people who will work for less than the going market rate:"

I believe the major reason the wages won't be raised on these very low skill jobs is that they aren't inherently worth that much..they're usually meant for people with very limited education and people who are just starting out in the work force (i.e. teenagers)...that's the case in America at least..

And you're right natives won't take these jobs.they view them as beneath em...that's where the immigrants come in...

"For Geoffrey Miller, China acts with a view to the longer term, especially when deciding the future of its population"

If China was thinking long term they wouldn't have implemented the one child policy in the first place..it was a policy in part inspired by the predictions of an alarmist hack (Paul Elrich) who's long been disproven (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Population_Bomb#Predictions) and now china is looking at the prospect of a declining young population, a rapidly aging population, and an over burdened pension and health care system (similar to Japan)..this of course assuming fertility trends continue and they don't import alot of immigrants.

Anonymous said...

If China was thinking long term they wouldn't have implemented the one child policy in the first place..it was a policy in part inspired by the predictions of an alarmist hack (Paul Elrich) who's long been disproven (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Population_Bomb#Predictions) and now china is looking at the prospect of a declining young population, a rapidly aging population, and an over burdened pension and health care system (similar to Japan)..this of course assuming fertility trends continue and they don't import alot of immigrants.

Population growth and food security are still problems in the world.

And the fact that there haven't been mass die offs doesn't mean that China was wrong to try to limit population growth. China is very crowded.

Judging policies solely on their effects on business activity and on interest payment streams is stupid.

Sean said...

The one child policy was aimed at preventing a youth bulge; it was population control, and has worked well. The excess of mating age males curtails reproduction by low status men. All in all, the average intelligence of Chinese won't be affected much.

Miller is a standard Evolutionary psychologist who believes we are mismatched to the modern world because the market economy short circuits adaptations to the 'Environment of evolutionary adaptedness'. He is an admirer of Dennett and Dawkins who thinks the The US is, and is going to continue to be, run by the laughable logic of Christian fundamentalism. Why? Because only they can resist the futile diversionsof the virtual economy: mass entertainment, fast food and porn.

The current issue of Scientific American is full of dystopian predictions. Christian Fundamentalists. are the culprits in most. For instance they'll be to blame for the war that follows a global environmental catastrophe because they think the Earth's fruitfulness is guaranteed by God (there is hardly a tree left in China, Tibet will soon be the same). US Christians will be the ones to blame for a war that follows the US IQ and wealth falling behind the China's, because Christians will ban germline genetic engineering in the US. (In the office of political guru Karl Rove these oh-so-influential Christians were called "the nuts").

The ultimate eugenics program to breed those who will succeed in a market economy, is... a market economy (without immigration) as Gregory Clark's work shows.

The class who rise to run things are not all that influenced by the atavistic desires selected for in the EEA. Hence, they don't need religion to resist them. What floats their boat is monetary reward. So why would they reduce their ability to make profit through importing labour, and risk their, and their children's, status and position, by espousing what will instantly be identified as racial nationalism by the leadership class of Superpower America? The most advanced sectors in the most advanced country in the world believe all nationalism (and other traditional thinking such as fundamentalist religion) is illogical, immoral, evil and certain to lead to war.

The only counterweight to globalising capitalists would be the threat of unrest by masses of dissatisfied (ie unadapted to a market economy) young native men. But, in the modern world they are too few in number, and diverted by the virtual delights on offer.

Anonymous said...

He is an admirer of Dennett and Dawkins who thinks the The US is, and is going to continue to be, run by the laughable logic of Christian fundamentalism.

Dawkins tweeted this a few days ago:

https://twitter.com/RichardDawkins/status/296507985281298433

"Ain't nobody gon' take away mah raht to bear a machine gun. Need it for hunt'n and defendin' mah home against the federal gummint."

Anonymous said...

Miller is a standard Evolutionary psychologist who believes we are mismatched to the modern world because the market economy short circuits adaptations to the 'Environment of evolutionary adaptedness'. He is an admirer of Dennett and Dawkins who thinks the The US is, and is going to continue to be, run by the laughable logic of Christian fundamentalism. Why? Because only they can resist the futile diversionsof the virtual economy: mass entertainment, fast food and porn.

Miller's work is really lame. It's the kind of armchair evo-psych theorizing pop science that amateurs can produce.

Dawkins has been a popularizer and a professional atheist for the past 30 years, but his first two books were brilliant, original works. Miller's stuff doesn't even come close.

Anonymous said...

The class who rise to run things are not all that influenced by the atavistic desires selected for in the EEA. Hence, they don't need religion to resist them. What floats their boat is monetary reward.

Your model seems to be that there are 2 types of people - those motivated by money, and those motivated by "atavistic desires". You suggest that those motivated by "atavistic desires" are being "diverted" and effectively sterilized by the current environment. But many of those who are motivated by money and "rise to run things" also have low birth rates in the current environment. The current environment should be breeding people that are resistant to its sterilizing effects, despite being motivated by money or "atavistic desires", or people that aren't motivated by money or "atavistic desires".

Anonymous said...

The only counterweight to globalising capitalists would be the threat of unrest by masses of dissatisfied (ie unadapted to a market economy) young native men. But, in the modern world they are too few in number, and diverted by the virtual delights on offer.

But in the modern world, fewer men are necessary to disrupt global capitalism. And as technology develops, increasingly fewer men will be able to disrupt it. A single man could genetically engineer viruses in his basement and release them into a major city.

Anonymous said...

"But in the modern world, fewer men are necessary to disrupt global capitalism"

You don't need viruses. To take down the modern world all you need is a screwdriver and a wiring diagram.

.
"I believe the major reason the wages won't be raised on these very low skill jobs is that they aren't inherently worth that much"

Inherent worth? Apparently everything else in economics is priced through supply and demand except labor.

The *sole* reason the wages for those jobs don't rise to their market value is immigration.

A labor shortage is always a good thing as it will always either improve living standards or drive technological progress. Importing cheap labor retards both of those things.

Anonymous said...

You don't need viruses. To take down the modern world all you need is a screwdriver and a wiring diagram.

Right. Or just an old cheap laptop and an internet connection. There are a number of different methods. It's just that biological weapons tend to be scarier and have a more terrifying effect. Globalism depends on unfettered movement, travel, trade, transmission, etc. and on large global metropoles to coordinate these activities. People will instinctively retreat from these activities if a plague is unleashed in one of the nodes.

Sean said...

Chinese state officials will take meaningful action only if it's necessary to avoid serious unrest. Given the docile temperament of the Chinese (PC gaming is a popular spectator sport there), and the merciless persecution that awaits Chinese who step out of line; it is difficult to see how pressure on officials for control of immigration would come from men who just wanted better jobs. To take the fateful step of protest in China, you need to have nothing to lose.

The only possibility is that state officials would worry about something like the Nanjing protests ('one of the currents that led to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989'). Going by results of a speed dating study with Columbia University grad students, Asian women do not prefer their own men. A couple of studies found African men are rated more physically attractive by women of all races. So if officials worry what the effect of Africans marrying scarce local women will have on the lower orders of Chinese single men; then they might be cautious about allowing immigration to continue at the current level and exacerbate the already existing shortage of single Chinese women. On current trends it will become increasingly obvious to more and more low status Chinese men that they are being excluded from reproduction by immigrants.

Anonymous said...

On current trends it will become increasingly obvious to more and more low status Chinese men that they are being excluded from reproduction by immigrants.

It doesn't even need to be direct i.e. immigrants reproducing with Chinese women. Even if immigrants don't reproduce or reproduce with their own women, they have an effect via their economic impact on wages and the like.

Anonymous said...

then they might be cautious about allowing immigration to continue at the current level

They may also become cautious if they see the eventual effects of current immigration and demographic trends in the West. The question is whether they will see these effects before they end up promoting these trends in China.

Anonymous said...

The class who rise to run things are not all that influenced by the atavistic desires selected for in the EEA. Hence, they don't need religion to resist them. What floats their boat is monetary reward. So why would they reduce their ability to make profit through importing labour, and risk their, and their children's, status and position, by espousing what will instantly be identified as racial nationalism by the leadership class of Superpower America? The most advanced sectors in the most advanced country in the world believe all nationalism (and other traditional thinking such as fundamentalist religion) is illogical, immoral, evil and certain to lead to war.

This has to do with horizontal transmission aka immigration leading to virulence, rather than the sole pursuit of money per se.

With diversity, an individual or class that is not necessarily purely motivated by personal greed will tend to behave as though they were in the sense that they will defect against those around them because they are not of their tribe.

Nand Gateley said...

Jprezy87 said...

If China was thinking long term they wouldn't have implemented the one child policy in the first place..it was a policy in part inspired by the predictions of an alarmist hack (Paul Elrich) who's long been disproven (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Population_Bomb#Predictions) and now china is looking at the prospect of a declining young population, a rapidly aging population, and an over burdened pension and health care system (similar to Japan)..this of course assuming fertility trends continue and they don't import alot of immigrants.

If a policy has had apparently bad effects, this does not prove the policy is wrong and should be reversed or never have been implemented. Someone who throws themself from a burning building and breaks several limbs is unwise to conclude that it is better to stay in a burning building. But Ayn Rand fans do have "issues" with understanding history and how societies work.

Sid said...

"An analogy can be made here with the current view that East Asian societies are "ultranationalistic"—a view seldom expressed a half-century ago when national sentiment was thought to be normal and even healthy. Since then, they haven't diverged from us. We've diverged from them."

It's true that the West has moved away from "xenophobia" and "nationalism," but I also believe that China has become more anti-Japanese and nationalistic over the last 30 years or so. Anti-Japanese attitudes in China are more febrile now than they were in the aftermath of the Sino-Japanese War. Why is this?

Broadly speaking, human beings view other groups in two ways: either vertically, or horizontally. What I mean by this is that you can either view other groups as being "below" or "above" your own, or otherwise "outside."

For example, the nobles of late medieval Europe viewed peasants as being "beneath" them. They viewed the world primarily through a class lens, in which there is a hierarchy with peasants being below and nobles being above.

Conversely, Mussolini's own version of Fascism was much less focused on who is up and who is down, but who is in and who is out. Mussolini diverged from Marxism, because he was less apt to focus on class divides between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, but rather between Italians and other nationalities.

Mao viewed the world "vertically," which means that he focused his energies on classes and their vertical relations, with peasants needing to take on the bourgeoisie. Yes, Mao may have written against the Japanese (without taking too many measures against them during the war), and he was against Imperialism all his life. Yet even so, Mao focused more on the "vertical" aspects of Imperialism. He believed that the bourgeoisie of the Imperialist powers oppressed the Chinese from above, while they also oppressed the proletariat of their own nations. The Maoists despised the British imperialists, but in principle wished the British proletariat would liberate themselves. In this, they tried to establish solidarity with the lower classes of other countries, as equals. Maoists despised British imperialism because it was Imperialism, not because it was British.

But since Mao's reign proved so disastrous, the reformers since then have focused less and less on class issues, and more on national ones. Bo Xilai may have (hypocritically) focused on class issues, but he was the black sheep of the current CCP, and he was purged with a sigh of relief.

How, then, does the CCP keep the lower classes appeased? It drives their attention outward. The CCP exhorts the lower classes to focus their attention not on those above them (as Mao did), but on the Japanese outside of them. So Chinese workers in cities nurse old wounds about the Sino-Japanese War, focusing on their national identity, instead of feeling envy over how filthy rich the princelings are, which would mean focusing on their class identity.

Peter Fros_ said...

Jprezy,

If a job isn't inherently worth that much, it should be allowed to disappear as the country moves to a higher-wage economy.

In North Carolina, the Christmas tree industry employs large numbers of low-paid immigrants (largely Hispanics) to trim and prune the trees by hand. If the wages were increased, this source of employment would probably disappear. It just isn't that important to have symmetrical, nicely pruned Christmas trees.

If people won't do a job at a rate that the employer is willing to pay, that job should disappear. It has no right to exist. For that matter, no job has a "right" to exist. This is a point that many people, including free-market conservatives, have trouble grasping.

Sean,

Many Europeans believe that the United States is a profoundly Christian country. There still is a core Christian community, perhaps a quarter of the population, but American society is now largely post-Christian. American policy is now dictated by the needs of an increasingly globalist business community. This is evident in the Republican Party. Policy making is driven by corporate donors, and "social conservatism" is little more than window dressing that serves to mobilize its electorate.

Sid,

Officially, China is a postnational state. The decline of Marxism-Leninism, however, has created a vacuum that is being filled on the one hand by globalism and Western mass-culture and on the other hand by a revival of nationalism and Confucianism.

It is difficult to say, but several factors seem to be shifting the balance towards nationalism and away from globalism:
- Sluggish economic growth in the West is encouraging China to turn inward and develop its domestic market.
- China is increasingly self-sufficient in producing high quality films, entertainment, and other cultural products. These products tend to emphasize national and/or historical themes.
- Relations will probably worsen with the U.S. over economic issues like debt repayment and geopolitical issues like Taiwan, North Korea, and Iran.
- Eurasia is emerging as a rival world-system. The informal alliance between China, Russia, and Iran will become more and more formalized.

Sean said...

Obama is going to order an attack on Iran.

Aggressive nationalism has other causes, but population pressure (excess young men) is very important. For instance, the closing of the US to Japanese immigration fueled Japan's aggressive policy before WW2.

There may be reasons to ally with China, but no one is going to provoke the US without a compelling one. I don't see Chinese leadership as without the support of the US elite. As far as I can see, the US is co-opting China in a globalising project. In both countries we are told the respective traditional culture is immensely influential among policy makers, but is it?

The knowledge class in the US see (white) Christians as a potential threat; in the quality media they're are blamed for just about everything, and there is clearly a wish to exclude them from participation in policy making (Unz says there is nary a Baptist at Yale). Meanwhile in China, there was a campaign against Falun Gong which had a membership composed of majority Han Chinese.

Ethnic majorities and traditional culture are the natural enemies those who benefit from globalisation, as well as the media who articulate those interests in moral-rational terms. The Han Chinese elite are sticking it to the Han Chinese mass through immigration, while the US mediasphere-nomenklatura are doing something similar. And the elites support each other. For instance China Calls for ‘No Delay’ on Gun Controls in U.S.

So, as I said, if the leadership of China (or any other country) tried to halt displacement-level immigration; they would come under unbearable pressure from Superpower America.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile in China, there was a campaign against Falun Gong which had a membership composed of majority Han Chinese.

I don't think that has to do with the Falun Gong's membership being primarily Han Chinese.

China has a history of religious movements leading rebellions against the state.

The Yellow Turban Rebellion was a peasant revolt lead by a new Taoist sect.

The Red Turban Rebellion was led by a Buddhist sect and eventually led to the overthrow of the Yuan Dynasty.

There was more recently the White Lotus Rebellion and the Taiping Rebellion. The Taiping Rebellion was led by a man who claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus.

I believe there was a religious element to the Boxer Rebellion as well.

Sid said...

It is difficult to say, but several factors seem to be shifting the balance towards nationalism and away from globalism:
- Sluggish economic growth in the West is encouraging China to turn inward and develop its domestic market.
- China is increasingly self-sufficient in producing high quality films, entertainment, and other cultural products. These products tend to emphasize national and/or historical themes.
- Relations will probably worsen with the U.S. over economic issues like debt repayment and geopolitical issues like Taiwan, North Korea, and Iran.
- Eurasia is emerging as a rival world-system. The informal alliance between China, Russia, and Iran will become more and more formalized."

There is one thing I'll add to your assessment. America is starting to slash its military budget, and is outsourcing the role of "world police" to regional powers. Poland and the Czech Republic were more or less told that they were on their own to deal with Russia, as the Americans cut their missile defense systems in Eastern Europe in an attempt to placate Russia. The French military is dealing with the crisis in Mali, and they played a major role in the NATO strikes against Gaddafi. This is a farcry from the 90s, when Europeans had American forces deal with problems in their backyard.

Instead of American power reaching everywhere, and being seen as the decisive factor in every conflict in the world, America will be seen as "first among equals," with regional powers asserting more control over their own pieces of the world. Right now, the Chinese military is 20 years behind the American one, but with military cuts and increasing American isolationism, the Chinese will begin to close the gap between their military force and America's, and will be eager to assert their regional hegemony in the Asian Pacific, much as Imperial Japan sought to do.

The Obama Administration is, at the same time, trying to reorient America's military focus away from the Middle East and to the Asian Pacific. This means that while American power will contract globally, that this contraction will be slower for the Chinese, so they will have more to push against as they expand. Whereas Russia, Brazil and possibly a new Islamist Middle East will have little difficulty is asserting themselves within their own respective spheres, the Chinese will have to push for their own regional control.

Interestingly, the CCP fomented anti-Japanese sentiment, to solidify their control by driving Chinese attention to old wrongs by the Japanese. It's starting to get out of control, and I'm sure many in the Chinese government would like to see tensions cool, while others within the government are happy to capitalize on it. One of the reasons why I believe Mao eventually turned against Lin Biao was that the Sino-Soviet tensions, compounded with de facto military control over the country in the wake of the Cultural Revolution, meant that Lin Biao could easily oust Mao and assert control if tensions between the two Communist powers burned hotter. The CCP, which is for the most part extremely venal and pragmatic, is starting to see its demagoguery become a liability. The economic benefits of a war with Japan would be nil, and only a borderline fascistic sense of national pride would entice the Chinese into a war, thereafter justify it. Such a war would make the Gun control the Party, and not the Party the Gun, to paraphrase Mao's dictum.

Anonymous said...

There is one thing I'll add to your assessment. America is starting to slash its military budget, and is outsourcing the role of "world police" to regional powers. Poland and the Czech Republic were more or less told that they were on their own to deal with Russia, as the Americans cut their missile defense systems in Eastern Europe in an attempt to placate Russia. The French military is dealing with the crisis in Mali, and they played a major role in the NATO strikes against Gaddafi. This is a farcry from the 90s, when Europeans had American forces deal with problems in their backyard.

These countries are more or less vassals of the US. It's not like they're acting any differently from the US. Their leadership classes are indoctrinated in the US shaped globalist worldview.

Sid said...

"These countries are more or less vassals of the US. It's not like they're acting any differently from the US. Their leadership classes are indoctrinated in the US shaped globalist worldview."

It varies from country to country. I will agree that France's intervention in West Africa means that America won't be the one paying to get the job done*. Conversely, Poland and the Czech Republic have far less options when it comes to dealing with Russia, since their words are no longer backed with American missile shields.

Do you think Brazil will do exactly the same things we would in South America? Do you think Russia will in former Soviet territories? Right.

American withdrawal just means Americans will spend less money for the same job done, if the regional power that fills the vacuum more or less shares American values. But when the regional power doesn't share American values, then obviously the results won't be the same.

*The European social system of high entitlement spending and low defense spending could only exist if America was picking up the slack. With American power contracting, the European powers will have to buy their own guns if they want to see their preferred geopolitical aims accomplished. What's ironic is that as America slashes its military budget for entitlement spending, European states may have to do the opposite, if regional stability is valuable to them.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Brazil will do exactly the same things we would in South America? Do you think Russia will in former Soviet territories? Right.

I didn't say Russia was a vassal.

Brazil doesn't seem to care much about foreign policy. The country doesn't seem coherent enough to care about foreign policy.

*The European social system of high entitlement spending and low defense spending could only exist if America was picking up the slack.

No. It only existed because the US didn't want there to be any European powers capable of acting independently of the US and pursuing its own aims, or becoming pro-Soviet, or reaching a rapprochement with the Soviets, etc.

What's ironic is that as America slashes its military budget for entitlement spending, European states may have to do the opposite, if regional stability is valuable to them.

No. What's ironic is that the US has been undermining stability in Europe and elsewhere, by spearheading globalism everywhere, while claiming to uphold stability.

Sid said...

"I didn't say Russia was a vassal.

Brazil doesn't seem to care much about foreign policy. The country doesn't seem coherent enough to care about foreign policy."

As US power contracts, regional powers will fill the void. I think we are agreed that France won't be so different from America, though not the same by any means. It still means that the US will focus less on intervention and on its own military strength, even if the results are similar if French jets do the work American jets would have done before in North Africa.

I don't think Brazil is particularly aggressive; it seems like they're more interested in economic and resource deals at this point.

"No. It only existed because the US didn't want there to be any European powers capable of acting independently of the US and pursuing its own aims, or becoming pro-Soviet, or reaching a rapprochement with the Soviets, etc."

Right. I forgot my history lesson. Europe was begging to rearm after WWII and get back at total war, but the US undercut the strength of not just the German military, but also the French, British, etc. Since they had nowhere else to go, Europeans spearheaded the welfare state, even as they hungered for more warfare. Got it.

"No. What's ironic is that the US has been undermining stability in Europe and elsewhere, by spearheading globalism everywhere, while claiming to uphold stability."

Criticize globalism if you like. I don't see how globalism has especially undermined European stability, except for Middle Eastern and North African immigrants perhaps. The last 65 years or so have been up there as the most stable days in European history (yes, that includes the current economic crisis).

Sean said...

If the Chinese leadership had the slightest nationalistic inclination they wouldn't be allowing mass immigration and risk provoking popular unrest.

The Chinese governing elites are getting rich by sticking it to their native working class with displacement level immigration. It's not much different to what is happening in Europe and the US. 'Stablity'?. Yes, slow but sure.

Anonymous said...

Right. I forgot my history lesson. Europe was begging to rearm after WWII and get back at total war, but the US undercut the strength of not just the German military, but also the French, British, etc. Since they had nowhere else to go, Europeans spearheaded the welfare state, even as they hungered for more warfare. Got it.

I don't think you forgot any history. I think you didn't know any to begin with. Apparently all you know is Atlanticist propaganda.

A primary objective of US postwar policy was to prevent the rise of European power capable of acting independently of the US or in concert with the Soviet Union.

There were prominent European leaders such as de Gaulle that wanted Europe to be a power independent of the US. This didn't entail a desire to "get back at total war" or a "hunger for more warfare". De Gaulle pursued nuclear weapons for France and friendly relations and cooperation with Germany and Europe generally. Of course Atlanticist propaganda says that independent military power in Europe automatically leads to "total war" and "WWII all over again" in order to justify Anglo-American meddling.

American domination of Europe created the conditions for the lopsided system of high social spending relative to defense spending.

Criticize globalism if you like. I don't see how globalism has especially undermined European stability, except for Middle Eastern and North African immigrants perhaps. The last 65 years or so have been up there as the most stable days in European history (yes, that includes the current economic crisis).

I think we have different notions of "stability". Your idea of stability is akin to that of a heroin addict who is wasting away and dying but is doing so in relative peace and comfort.

Sean said...

I agree.

Anonymous said...

If the Chinese leadership had the slightest nationalistic inclination they wouldn't be allowing mass immigration and risk provoking popular unrest.

The Chinese governing elites are getting rich by sticking it to their native working class with displacement level immigration. It's not much different to what is happening in Europe and the US. 'Stablity'?. Yes, slow but sure.


I don't know if they are allowing "mass" or "displacement level" immigration yet. And I don't know if they would deliberately or consciously. I think it would be more a case of losing control as a result of playing ball with globalism.

Jprezy87 said...

"If a policy has had apparently bad effects, this does not prove the policy is wrong and should be reversed or never have been implemented. Someone who throws themself from a burning building and breaks several limbs is unwise to conclude that it is better to stay in a burning building. But Ayn Rand fans do have "issues" with understanding history and how societies work."

I'm not a Rand fan..and unlike the example you cited there's no ultimate good that can come out of government population control nor was there ever a crisis in the first place (fertility was already declining by time the population control movement gained ground in the 1970s). Now don't get me wrong..I'm all for making contraception available and women having reproductive freedom (that's unfortunately lacking in many third world countries) but as far as the government actively seeking to limit the number of children one can have..I oppose that. Forced abortions and sterlizations arent good things in my eyes.

"Obama is going to order an attack on Iran."

Obama ain't gonna do sh*t (militarily) about Iran..hasn't done so in the past 4 years..what makes you think he's going to do something now?

"If the Chinese leadership had the slightest nationalistic inclination they wouldn't be allowing mass immigration and risk provoking popular unrest.

The Chinese governing elites are getting rich by sticking it to their native working class with displacement level immigration"

Um..china has a billion people sir..it's gonna be quite a while before immigration reaches "displacement level" and I doubt china's allowing that much immigration to begin with..chinese police tend to crack down pretty hard on visa overstayers from what I've read...

Peter,

I remember you saying in one of your earlier posts that no other asian country besides China had a population control policy..that's incorrect..Singapore also had a population control policy in the 1960s-1970s, but unlike china it was more about persuasion (through posters and media propaganda) than outright force..however Singapore reversed this policy and started to encourage people to have more than two children once they saw that falling birhrates was a big problem for the country ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_planning_in_Singapore#Have_Three_or_More_.28if_you_can_afford_it.29 ) Just thought I'd point that out..

Sean said...

As I understand it Peter thinks the long term birth-rate trends in East Asia are largely due to socio -economic circumstances, not coercion or campaigns.

Lee Kuan Yew had a campaign, (Eysenk acted as consultant) to promote motherhood among highly qualified women, who it seems, often have no children at all.

The indigenous ethnic minorities of China do not have the one child policy enforced on them. African or African-Chinese couples won't either.

Anonymous said...

These countries are more or less vassals of the US. It's not like they're acting any differently from the US. Their leadership classes are indoctrinated in the US shaped globalist worldview.

"Pendant que les Juifs russes inventent le socialisme - communiste- révolutionnaire, destructeur de l’ordre social - et que les Juifs autrichiens découvrent la psychanalyse, les Juifs américains participent, au tout premier rang, à la naissance du capitalisme américain et à l'américanisation du monde."

Jacques Attali, Les Juifs, le monde et l’argent (Paris: Fayard; 2002)

Sean said...

Iran is implicitly being threatened with attack by the US, but the threat inveigles Iran into making attack inevitable by getting it to nuke up and build alliances to defend itself. Obama has said quite clearly that Iran will be stopped from getting a nuke; by whatever means necessary. (Wilson and FDR waited until they got re-elected too.)
At Camp David, Barak offered a final deal to the Palestinians; it was a serious offer, which they turned down. The Palestinians had the backing of Iran and Iraq at that time; now they have only Iran, and (not co-incidentally IMO) Israel has long since taken its offer off the table.
Iran is a non-Arab state, which when in need of allies, attempts to curry favour in its region by supporting the Palestinians; that makes it a target of the Israel lobby. Trusted advisors of Obama are likely saying that if Iran is neutralized, Israel will be able to give enough for a final agreement, and then (so he may think) Obama will be the man who solved the ME problem; he is going to order an attack on Iran
The Joint Chiefs don’t want two conflicts so it'll probably be after withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. Iran will be hit with massive air strikes; rebellions will spring up under US air superiority, and the country will dissolve into factional principalities, just like Iraq did. In effect most Palestinians (the ones in Gaza certainly) have already been expelled from what land Israel intends to keep. Once Iran is taken out of the equation, the Palestinians will have no militarily significant state supporting their aspirations; they'll become demoralized and capitulate.

It is very silly to think the armed forces of Superpower America (which have literally 100 times as many helicopters as the UK) are at all constrained by reduction from military spending levels that were consciously intended to forestall further entitlement spending. European ‘powers’ like the UK have no meaningful geopolitical interest in Timbuktu.

Cameron‘s main interest is making London banks are unregulated by the European Union, thereby ensuring a profitable service sector, even while Britain is trading at a loss (which it is, despite the current highly favourable exchange rate). He also demands the admission of Turkey to the EU; something only America wants.

Wikileaks revealed the US’s embassies think European indigenous current majorities maintaining ‘ethnic domination’ of their states is unacceptable, and should be pro-actively combated. The US attitude to China will be no different. While I agree with Peter that American ideology does not hold much sway over the state officials there, I’m dubious about party bosses thwarting businesses and alienating the US.

Anonymous said...

"There is one thing I'll add to your assessment. America is starting to slash its military budget, and is outsourcing the role of "world police" to regional powers."

"Instead of American power reaching everywhere, and being seen as the decisive factor in every conflict in the world, America will be seen as "first among equals," with regional powers asserting more control over their own pieces of the world."


As long as NATO is still around, the US is not "outsourcing" anything even if it doesn't directly participate militarily.

NATO was originally set up to "keep the Soviets out and the Germans down".

Americans will claim that it allows them forward bases for actions in the Middle East.

The actual reason is of course geopolitical; The USA needs a physical presence on the 'World-Island" (Eurasia) in order to attain 'full-spectrum dominance'. Full-Spectrum Dominance is threatened by Russia's nukes (the only program that can threaten the USA at the moment), China's rise, and of course the EU from an economic perspective.

The American occupation of Europe through NATO allows it leverage over Europe (in particular Germany and France) and the presence of the UK in the EU allows it to engage in a spoiler role by proxy (which the Turks were supposed to do as well, until public sentiment against their entry blocked this expansion).

Sean said...

Anon, no the EU has been pushed by the US; it's the political corollary of NATO. For instance, around 1980 leftists in Greece and Spain changed their attitude to NATO; in order to get into the EU.

Contrary to what they tried to make the Soviets think, America would not have used nukes to stop a Soviet attack; that would have initiated a nuclear war. The reason the Soviets didn't try to conquer western Europe was because they could never have hoped to win the conventional world war with the worlds most powerful economy, that would have followed.

When Reagan became president, Kissinger gave him a confidential briefing on the facts of life in regard to nuclear weapons, and advised no first use under any circumstances. Yet, Davos 2013: Kissinger says Iran nuclear crisis close. The official rationale for the US attack on Iran will be something about preventing a war.